Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Awkward Black Man” as Want to Read:
The Awkward Black Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Awkward Black Man

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  424 ratings  ·  100 reviews
From award-winning author Walter Mosley, a brilliant collection of stories featuring unlikely heroes arising from African America
Bestselling author Walter Mosley long ago proved himself a master of narrative tension, both with his extraordinary fiction and gripping writing for television. The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley’s most accomplished short stories
...more
Hardcover, 1st, 336 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Grove Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Awkward Black Man, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nuha not sure how this is helpful but -
The Good News Is
Pet Fly
Almost Alyce
Starting Over
Leading from the Affiar
Cut, Cut, Cut
Between Storms
The Black Woman …more
not sure how this is helpful but -
The Good News Is
Pet Fly
Almost Alyce
Starting Over
Leading from the Affiar
Cut, Cut, Cut
Between Storms
The Black Woman in the Chinese Hat
Local Hero
Otis
Showdown on the Hudson
Breath
Reply to a Dead Man
The Letter
Haunted
The Sin of Dreams
An Unlikely Series of Conversations(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  424 ratings  ·  100 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Awkward Black Man
Andrew Smith
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I already knew I liked the way Walter Mosley puts words down on a page. I’d read a few of his novels and whilst I didn’t always love the story (actually, I really did like most of them) without fail I loved the way it was told. The man invents interesting characters and the dialogue is always snappy and clever. In the same way, I do like short story collections – the way you can work through a single story over a cup of coffee or immerse yourself more deeply by consuming a few in a longer sittin ...more
Thomas
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
I was drawn to this book because I had read 2 previous mystery books by this author. I like to read mysteries. However these short stories are not mysteries, but character studies, each one about an "Awkward Black Man" in today's American society. These short stories were uneven, ranging from depressing, about a homeless alcoholic, to the paranormal. In some cases, the man achieves a better place in life.
This quote is from the book blurb: "Mosley presents exceptional characters as they struggle
...more
lark benobi
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read enough Walter Mosley now that I trust him completely to lead me into the dark soul or the glorious heart or the brilliant mind of his characters, and this collection did not disappoint. The characters in these stories feel like living people who were waiting somewhere, whole and vivid, until Mosley came along and wrote them down. There is a melancholy to these stories that affected me. The dialog is remarkable. The storytelling is elegant. I feel like I'm being treated like an honored ...more
Michelle
"There is no one else, Mr. Jackson. It is either you or nothing."


Anybody who knows me knows I love Walter Mosley. I try to get my hands on every single thing he writes just about as soon as he writes it. Sometimes I use his books as gifts to myself.

The Awkward Black Man is seventeen short stories about - you guessed it - awkward black men. These men are bright and sometimes brilliant, but they are unassuming. They are often overlooked and taken for granted. Don't get me wrong here. They may
...more
Donna Davis
I had intended to read this author’s work for some time now, and collected a couple of his paperbacks that have sat unread for years. I’ve been so busy reading galleys, with the goal of being done by their dates of publication, that I read very few of the books I’ve bought for myself. When this galley came available, I figured my problem was solved; and in a way, it has been. My thanks go to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic for the review copy. This book is for sale now.

Like some other reviewers,
...more
Andrea
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Walter Mosley and this book of short stories is one of my favorites that he has written.
Robert Greenberger
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I haven't read Walter Mosley in way too long so when I saw this offering at NetGalley, I leaped at the chance to rectify that error.

This is a fine collection of stories all built around the title. As a result, the genre may change, but emotions don't as you largely feel sympathy for these men who life has ignored, tortured, or abused in some way. Yes, some are victims of their own ineptitude or ego, while others are born this way and never receive help from a society that they desperately need.

T
...more
chantel nouseforaname
There's something about the way that Walter Mosley writes. He makes you question morality. He makes you question what it is to act in certain ways and the long or quiet implications that your actions can have.

I was originally going to give this book 4 stars, but the final story, An Unlikely Series of Conversations, and it's abrupt ending really was a 5 star story on it's own and shot this book out of the stratosphere. Mr. Mosley definitely saved the best for last.

I want to talk some more about
...more
Peter
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Walter Mosley has what I would call ‘the touch.’ His prose is rich without being extravagant and each sentence works as a sentence should. At once, the reader is both propelled forward and asked to linger just a nanosecond to ponder what has been said. One is never obliged to love or reject a character. Rather, Mosley offers his characters to us. It is up to the reader to determine the fate of each character as much as Mosley will tell us. There are few hard lessons to be gleaned from his charac ...more
Tonstant Weader
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Walter Mosley is best known for his mysteries, especially Easy Rawlins the famed L.A. detective. He is a master of noir, but I am more certain that readers a hundred years in the future will be reading The Awkward Black Man, his recent collection of short stories than even “Devil in a Blue Dress.”

There are seventeen short stories in this collection and there is an awkward Black man in each one of them. The stories are rich in empathy and human understanding. In one story, a man dies hating anoth
...more
freckledbibliophile
I'm one who enjoys a collection of short stories. It amazes me how a good one can collapse beneath my feet and suck me in like a forty-foot cenote.

I fancied a few stories immensely in this collection. One of my favorites is The Good News Is. Sammy was indeed an awkward man, but in the end, he faired greatly, although he had a heartless ex-wife, setbacks, and insecurities.

There were about four stories that I enjoyed more than the others. It was evident that almost all of the stories dealt with k
...more
Arlene
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First off the dedication... that right there is where I knew I was in for an amazing heartfelt ride.

Secondly the stories I loved:
Almost Alyce
Starting Over
Cut, cut, cut
Local Hero
Otis (I read this one twice)
Showdown on the Hudson (I read this one twice)
Reply to a Dead Man (read twice)
The Letter (it was so sad...😞 )
The Sun of Dreams

Damn, that’s most of them... I guess that’s why it’s a five star for me.
Bob Box
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exceptional collection of short stories from Mosley. Beautiful prose, interesting and fantastical stories and a real talent for names. He touches on all aspects of the black experience in a unique and humane way.
Kat
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Self discovery is weird

📚Bookish Thoughts📚

“We say African-American because that is the parlance,”

“Used to be the parlance was colored, Negro, Afro, nigger, coon, jigaboo. Parlance don’t make a word right."

📚 The Awkward Black Man: Stories
by Walter Mosley

The concept of manhood and definitions of realness and masculinity was really explored in this book. I appreciated the fluently and boldness in portraying various personalities. As the sole sister to eight, I recognized some of my siblings within t
...more
Sacha
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I love Walter Mosley and have never been disappointed by a Mosley novel. He creates flawed but endearing characters, is a master of tone and mood, and employs a straightforward style to explore challenging concepts. I wondered if I'd have a similar love for his short stories...and I did!

This is a great collection. I was mildly intrigued by the title, but by the end, I found it utterly endearing. These characters really live up to the titular awkwardness and all in different, creative way
...more
Scott
Sep 01, 2020 added it
Walter Mosley returns with a literary collection of stories about awkward black men of varying ages. For me, the writing is excellent and the characters are well etched, but there is a certain sameness to tone of the stories that stops the collection from elevating itself to another level. There were a few stories that stood out including the opener, "The Good News Is", "Between Storms", "Local Hero" and "Reply to a Dead Man".

There's plenty to like here, but I think I just prefer Mosley's crime
...more
Saeed
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little ways into Walter Mosley’s “Awkward Black Man,” Holly - a 20-something office intern -- makes an astute observation: “People are so afraid of dying that they don’t even live the little bit of life they have.”
This throwaway line, uttered “for no particular reason that I could tell,” sends the narrator, a 53-year-old man, on a life-changing journey. He sheds his wife of 20 years, quits his job of 30 years and hauls off to Rome with said intern.
Indeed, the intern’s pronouncement seems to be
...more
Nuha
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!

Now available.

One of my current regrets is that I haven't come across legendary Black author Walter Mosley until this collection of short stories. By turns bizarre, comedic and tragic, "The Awkward Black Man" is a series of musings by an aging Black man. Every story has a powerful voice, a new perspective, a wild plot chase. My personal favorite was the love affair with mad scientist who kept altering people to achieve thei
...more
Ross
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Seventeen short stories by acclaimed writer Mosley, one of my favorite writers. The stories are a mix of science fiction, commentary on American race relations, cultural norms, personal relationships and the obstacles faced by black males and other Americans in their day-to-day lives. All are unique and unusual, though several do not meet Mosely’s typical level of excellence. Mosley presents unusual, memorable main black male characters striving -- awkwardly (and often painfully) -- to achieve a ...more
Jenny
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.75 I've never read Mosley before, which seems ridiculous, but anyways, this collection is wonderful. I found my self identifying with the protagonists in these stories more than any of the characters in books that I've read recently. Which might seem strange as they are all black men, mostly older than me and mostly from New York. However, that's what's so great about these stories. They make the point that we all have more in common than we think, and that commonality can be found in our impe ...more
Alicia (PrettyBrownEyeReader)
This short story collection focuses on different Black men who have awkward situations. The reader sees each of these men navigating careers, interests and relationships. Mosely is known for his mystery writing. Some of the stories have hints of mystery. Most of the stories showcase his skill as a story teller. Fans of short stories will enjoy this collection.

I was given the opportunity to review an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley.
Shenelle Gaston
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The men in this book will make you laugh, make you cry, but most importantly make you think. I've met many of them in real life, compassionate, intelligent, yes sometimes awkward black men. I am so glad to see them in fiction. ...more
Caleb
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great mix of humor and wittiness.
Sabrina
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book and unconsciously put down ever responsibility I had foe the day. Sorry. Not sorry.
Jason
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Though well aware of his reputation and his renown, it just so happens that I come to Walter Mosley with a good deal less than a halfway adequate sense of what lies in store. I am, in due course, bowled the fuck over. It is for reasons such as this one that life is far more than mere perseverance, rather the gift that keeps on giving, I shit thee not, nor did those who have preceded me in communicating this folksy precept. So let’s hear it for Walter Mosely! I am oftentimes quite outspoken with ...more
J. Lewis
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book of short stories by my favorite author. I am used to his colorful wring in the mystery genre, but his imagination comes through in these stories.
Mrs. Varela
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Master storyteller Walter Mosley introduces a collection of seventeen short stories in his latest works, The Awkward Black Man. In Mosley’s unique style he brings readers stories negating the stereotypes of black men that have defined them in the world. His stories bring to life characters that feel deeply and think hard.

Some of the stories like “Local Hero”, “Sin of Dreams” and my personal favorite, “Reply to a Dead Man” where a financially struggling man receives a letter from his deceased br
...more
Amanda
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories examining the lives of black men from various circumstances. Mosley shatters stereotypes with this intimate look into the lives of these unique individuals. Love affairs, loneliness, failed relationships, career transformations, mad scientists…this collection has a little bit of everything.

“Me, I’m racing ahead at fifty miles a year, but at the same time I’m going backward at forty-nine point nine miles. And so at the end of each year, almost everyone around me has
...more
Linda
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'd seen movies based on Walter Mosley's books, but until I read The Awkward Black Man, I'd never read anything he authored. I was delighted to read his fine and sensitive writing. I hadn't realized that he wrote other things besides detective books. What impressed me was, even though several of the stories had the same base of an older man contemplating his eventually physical deterioration and death, all of the stories seemed different. I've read lots of collections of stories that felt like I ...more
Allison
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mosley's latest collection of seventeen stories center around Black men in portraits that illustrate some of the strongest characters in recent memory. Placing his characters in unique, vividly drawn situations, Mosley introduces the readers of his compact tales to sharp snapshots of the inner lives of these characters.
Whether he's writing about a gifted, if socially challenged high school student encountering his soul mate after running away from the mounting pressures of his life or telling t
...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Home Before Dark
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper
  • Sex and Vanity
  • The Circle
  • The Night Watchman
  • The Illness Lesson
  • The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9)
  • Sensation Machines
  • The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7)
  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things
  • Exciting Times
  • The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #8)
  • The Pull of the Stars
  • The End of Her
  • One by One
  • A Girl Is a Body of Water
  • Likes
See similar books…
2,558 followers
Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more

Related Articles

  Kellye Garrett's first novel, Hollywood Homicide, was released in August 2017 and won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Independent Publisher...
81 likes · 20 comments
“People are so afraid of dying that they don’t even live the little bit of life they have.” 1 likes
“had a girlfriend named Lana who told me she loved me but said that her impression of life was that people should live alone, answerable to no one. This, she said, made love a true choice and not a duty that inevitably transmogrified into spite.” 1 likes
More quotes…